Friday, May 27, 2011

Yet Another Painful Letter Reporting Discrimination Against White Males

Here's the latest in the endless stream of emails from white men claiming reverse discrimination. They know I'm one of the few people who are supportive of their most unpopular cause. He has given permission for me to include his name.
My name is Jeff Williams. I have been in the automotive field for over 25 years.
Yesterday I was fired from my job as a licensed California smog technician simply because I am not Turkish.

I have 16 years in the smog field alone and I know what I am doing. I live 100 miles from his shop, but hey, no problem. Glad to help and I could use the work.

After a month or so, he hires this friend of his to "help out" at the shop. His friend has zero automotive experience, is not licensed, and is essentially just a parasite that needs to collect a paycheck. Not only is he of no help to me, it is illegal for him to get involved with what I am doing in the shop. He is not a licensed smog tech. The guy cannot even figure out how to put air in tires. So I was a babysitter for the owner's unemployable Turkish pal.

After a month of this guy standing around staring at me or basically just getting in the way, the owner decided that it would be better to keep his friend working there, and fired me. He explained to me that this is the way they do things in his "Homeland", and that he simply would not fire a Turk no matter how useless he was to the business, or how much harder it made anyone else's job.

I have worked for numerous shop owners over the years and have seen the racially biased hiring policies on a regular basis. It's very consistent but who do you complain to? If I did the same thing with my business, firing people for not being white, I would probably go to jail, at least, get sued out of business.

It's a very depressing, sad state when you can't even do a job you are trained for, simply because you are the wrong race.

Jeff Williams
I suggested that Jeff try the EEOC but anecdotally, I've heard that, especially under the Obama Administration, it's much more difficult to get the EEOC to take a claim seriously if you're a white man. After all, according to most social science professors, "white male privilege" is enormous.

Here was Jeff's response to my EEOC suggestion: "I would just get called a racist myself. It's very strange how this sort of thing just goes ignored, but it is 100% consistent in the auto industry."


Anonymous said...

Just read your last blog post.
Since when are Turkish people not white? What color are they?

And friends employing friends, and protecting them on the job, is not limited to any racial group. Or family for that matter. How many owners of businesses have employed their sons, nephews, brothers-in-law, and kept them on the job, even though they were not the best qualified for the position, or maybe even not qualified at all.

Sorry, this man losing his job, has nothing to do with white male discrimination.

Marty Nemko said...


I'm curious why you're so eager to dismiss this person's claim, brushing it off because of some arguable technicality about the definition of race--that Turkish people, despite indeed being of different color and ancestry than what we normally refer to as "white people" should be considered white and thus this man was not discriminated against.

Remember that discrimination refers not just to race but to ethnicity.

Remember too that this man, who has spent 25 years in the automotive industry says the reverse discrimination is very common.

Finally, your argument because there are other unfairneses--e.g., nepotism, we should ignore this clear, illegal, gross unfairness, perhaps one that if the claimant's assertion is valid, that occurs across an entire industry. Is that worthy of being dismissed apriori?

Would you make a similar response if the claimant had been an African-American?

Or do you want to claim that you apply a double-standard because of "white privilege?"

Stan said...

This seems like a pretty clear cut case of discrimination to me. Unfortunately, it doesn't mesh with the worldview of some folks (namely, a worldview that says white men are responsible for the world's ills, are universally privileged, and can therefore, a priori, never suffer from discrimination). Because of this - as well as pure racial (and sexual) spoils politics - I'm not sure how this problem is going to be resolved. I can tell you it's certainly discouraging to be a young white man in this environment, especially when there are only more clouds gathering on the horizon. Perhaps the solution is to just leave the country entirely? It's hard to have loyalty when the country clearly has no loyalty or respect for you in return.

(By the way, just an addendum here: Marty, I wish you'd refer to men as... men, and not "males", which is more befitting of a zoo animal or something. I know that's not your aim, but the language we use, and the connotations it has, is so important. Comparatively speaking, we seldom hear the use of the word "female"; instead, it's all "woman", usually in conjunction with adjectives or implications of strength, potential, etc. The choice of words makes a difference.)

Marty Nemko said...

Good point, Stan, re "male" versus "male." I guess I've unconsciously gotten sucked in by the feminists' invariable calling men "males" to dehumanize them, while calling women "women" rather than "females." I've now changed it thanks to you. Good man! Not "Good Male"!

JW said...

I never said I was fired for being "White".
I was fired because I was not Turkish.

The owner clearly stated to me that he would not fire another Turk.
Simple as that.

And no, I would never have to fire a useless family member, because I would never hire one.
My field of work REQUIRES trained, licensed professionals.

ST said...

This seems like a cultural or nepotism-like thing more than strickly racial, but none the less as damaging.

We have a lot of situations like this at work, too. They could never get away with doing what this person did, because it's a big company and there would be law suits up the ... . But, in general, people at companies (ones I've been at anyhow) would rather be working with their "buddies" and having great rapport, than the most qualified person for the job. There's also the opposite extreme, having the most qualified person being a total jerk to work with, but there should be a balance, maybe more tilted toward the most qualified and easy to work with, and not necessarily a "buddie" or comrade.

Bigger companies (or government offices) can get away with it more, I'm guessing, because it's not very efficient resulting from the economies of scale. Every minute of everyone's work time doesn't have to be accounted for or add value, because there's a lot of slack built in the overall system. Usually there are a few really hard and productive workers who "get things done", so the treadmill keeps rolling.

But, back to the original post. This person must not be a very good business man to do this, or the worker was a jerk, hard to work with, too expensive, who knows? If I were the auto worker, I would be glad and find a place that appreciates him more.

Anonymous said...

I knew several white men who filed claims with the EEOC under the Reagan administration and got nowhere so don't blame Obama. The problem is, for every legitimate claim there are several "sour grapes" type claims. It is very hard for a court to tell the difference it takes a lot of time and effort. That's no excuse but it's the way things are.

Anonymous said...

Marty, you're quite wrong here. This is a clear case of nepotism, not necessarily of racism.

So the owner of the operation hires his FRIEND, who he could very well be related to and could have known back in Turkey, and fires his regular employee because the employer's resources are limited.

Now, I'll agree that the employer is wrong not to stick by his loyal employee (given the benefit of the doubt to the letter writer here), but this situation is no more wrong than it would be were everyone involved white.

In regards to nepotism in general, did you know that Steven Spielberg was given his big break by Lew Wasserman, who went so far as to back the young and inexperienced Spielgberg against an established actress? Now gee whiz, would Wasserman have done the same for a goy director?

It seems to me that the mistake the owner of the car operation made (in your eyes, at least) is that he didn't hire his Turkish friend in the first place, that he wasn't SUBTLE enough in his practice of nepotism. This would fall in line with the sort of nepotism practiced all the time here in the U.S by various ethno-centric groups.

Sheila said...

All ethnies are blatant about preferring their own and hiring their own - all ethnies except White Americans (or White Europeans, or White Australians). I've visited Turkey a number of times; the people are warm and friendly and happy to take American dollars, but they know who's one of "theirs" and who's not. The Chinese and other Asian immigrants first hire family members, and then if the business grows and money permits, they hire from among their own clan (Yes, I've lived in Asia and know of what I speak). Their companies rarely grow beyond that point. Once enough Indian employees get into a formerly American office, they hire only Indians and find reasons to let any White Americans go (check out Check out your local grocery or retail store - most cashiers will be of one ethnic group or another; they tell one another about job openings and put in a good word for one another with personnel. One local store has mostly East European/Russian cashiers. Another used to have mostly gays; I went in after a month's absence and they had all been replaced by blacks. Most Jewish business start hiring relatives for responsible positions.

Every ethny, every religious or racial group, utilizes endogamous practices. This is natural and the normal human condition. Solely for Whites is this forbidden, with all the resultant ills typical of BRA.

The small business my husband works for hires primarily family and friends of current employees. Nepotism? Hardly - try smart business practice. They were badly burned (by theft and disloyalty), and try to minimize their exposure to more. They now have some non-White IT people, but the management and everyone in a financially responsible position is White. Racist? Only if you're a member of either wing of America's single political party - the party of wholesale population replacement and "we're all members of the same race - the human race" fools.

CodeWarriorWoman said...

I feel sorry for this man. I was recently let go from a job because I have a mental health disorder. Since I work in a field that is good for people with my disorder (IT) and it is a fairly common disorder for which I am medicated and in therapy, it was not a matter of protecting the business. In my opinion, it was because I'd have been the only employee there to actually use the company's health insurance (most of my co-workers were younger, and never went to the doctor, so they told me) and cost them money. It was interesting how I was fired right after we were all set to switch to a new plan that required individual medical underwriting. The company offered me a fraction of my salary as severance so I wouldn't sue. It was so paltry that I opted to waive it and take unemployment compensation instead.

My dismissal was in direct violation of the ADA (a law passed under President Bush I), but I really don't have any recourse, because employers can always say they let you go for other reasons. In my case, they used the language of "poor cultural fit" and "we decided we don't need the position after all" when dismissing me.

While reading this entry, it occurred to me that the man's age might also have been a factor. Every recent study shows that unemployed people over 45 are unemployed longest, and have the most arduous searches of any age group in the workforce. I've read many accounts of older workers being dismissed outright a few minutes into the interview, when HR or a manager met them face-to-face and saw they weren't young. It's really a shame, because it seems like no one cares.

I also think Anonymous makes a good point about whiteness, but so does Marty. Turks are what we'd count as "Caucasian" on any census, and in terms of coloring and genetics, they're closest to Greeks, certain Italians, Persians, Israelis, and other Mediterraneans, all of whom are also considered "Caucasian." However, this could be considered a case of cultural discrimination, whereby the man was let go because his boss preferred someone from his own culture. I also agree that I'd be suspicious of nepotism, in addition to age and cultural (racial if you prefer) factors. I'm not saying this because I feel compelled to be politically correct – I'm just calling it like the Census does.

@Stan: Since I advocate for men's and women's rights (rare, since you have to pick a side nowadays), I've spent time on both feminist and men rights's blogospheres, and I've found that dehumanizing language is not the province of one gender. Within the circles of MRA blogs that condone violence (e.g. firebombing courts, beating people up) and within the Pick-Up Artist community, nearly all the bloggers refer to men as men, and to women as either "girls" or "females" interchangeably with the specific intent of dehumanizing them and equating them with children and animals. Those bloggers only use "woman" when it's paired with an insult.

I appreciate Marty's use of clear, specific language to describe adult humans. No matter what I read online, accurate word choice seems to be a lost art these days. As a high-intelligence woman diagnosed ADHD who felt stifled by school, as well, I can relate to boys who feel they don't belong there, because neither did I.